Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire and some say in ice but I say… ‘Fire and Ice’ will end with a metaphysical note. Robert Frost’s this beautiful poem is very compact but yet loaded with innate meanings. At first look, the form of the poem attracts the readers. It seems as if it is a mere passing comment by an ordinary loquacious man. The poem also doesn’t follow the footsteps of what they call the ‘rules’ of poetry writing. It seems to be like a prose if we write it in a single line. But! If we carefully observe it, it is very powerful and contemplative. Before I say more, we can have a bite of the fruit. Here it is;


Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

The form is written in this format deliberately to make it more effective. Frost here uses the style of ‘enjambment’ in his seventh line. Enjambment is a form used for breaking of the syntactic unit in between two lines. (Click here to know more about enjambment.) This is used to generate a good effect. Well, let us not get much into the form since we are more concentrated on the meaning.

Frost is known for his confused statements, but as they say, “it is only the perplexity that crafts the profound”. The first line comes out of the basic age old question that, will the world end in fire or will it end in ice? Protruding with the same discussion, frost speaks about the two powerful destructive forces, fire and ice. He says both the forces are equally powerful to cause destruction.

He compares fire to desire and ice to hate. He says, desire brings destruction, now, does it ring a bell! Yes, its the same philosophical notion that has been specified by Buddha. Here we can also concentrate on the fact that, be it east or west, the ultimate truth is the same. Ice, he says is equally potent for destruction as it is like hatred. Ice makes a thing cold, unmoved and ultimately freeze to make it fragile. So fragile, that it makes a thing break into pieces without even moving it. He says, just like ice, hatred kills a man.

That was a war period when he wrote this poem. First World War had just ended and also the civil war. So, he had seen the world towards destruction. His prediction of the ice also made a justification through the ‘cold wars’ that took place.

So, these two destructive forces fire and ice brings the peripheral world to an end. And also, the same desire and hate brings an inner persona of a person to an end. So, in order to make a healthy person and a healthy world, we have to maintain these two destructive forces as well to keep it away.

In a small eight and a half line poem, frost speaks about war, peace, human qualities, personality traits, urges, destruction and the limitations of human being. And he also gives a message to the human kind that in order to maintain internal and external harmony, one has to win over the human urges and bad instincts.

Well! “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful”, “The words never quite an experience behind them”. Now, am back to my old notion that reading poetry is joyous. What do you say?

On the other note, the title ‘Fire and Ice’ also strike a chord to another very beautiful poem by Edmund Spencer. Click here to have a look at this wonderful piece.

8 comments:

sampath said...

Good analysis of fire and ice, an investigation of the component parts of a whole and their relations in making up the whole meaning by using small part

Anonymous said...

Simply Great.....Suuuper.
-Dinesh

kanasu said...

Thank u sampath n dinesh :)

sunaath said...

ಕನಸುಗಾತಿ,
ಸುಂದರವಾದ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಶ್ ಕವನಗಳನ್ನು ಸುಂದರವಾದ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿರುವ ನಿನಗೆ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು.
My heart fills with pleasure.
-ಸುನಾಥ ಕಾಕಾ

kanasu said...

ಥ್ಯಾಂಕ್ಸ್ ಕಾಕಾ :)

Myoni said...

Gud analysis da ,,,,

Myoni said...

Hey ,,
Next Wasteland Pls ,,,

Vijaya said...

oops ... hey thanks so much ... i hadnt been here for sometime and what have i missed!
I agree with you ... reading poems is truly joyous :-)